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Mr. BARTHOLOMEW HOARE, the scriptures with uncommon at. it will appear by the following let. tention and judgment and open. ters, was a man of superior abili- nesz to conviction.
It is not surties and attainments : one of those, prising, that on a candid and whose stretch of capacity and diligent enquiry, he saw reason to energy of mind, bear them above depart from the principles of his the depressing influence of a very educatior. With integrity he fol. confined education and a low lowed the convictions of his judgrank. He was born at Hawke ment. Though exposed to the en. church a parish in Dorsetshire. mity of bigots, and pressed by the That he never rose higher than to demands of a young family, he the station of a taylor in a country openly avowed the sentiments he village, called Musbury, about adopted, by withdrawing from three miles from Axminster, in the worship of the Church of Devonshire, is a proof, that fortune England and joining himself 10 did not smile on his birth, nor on a congregation of Protestant Disa his progress throngh life. But senters at Colyion, about two knowledge enriched him from her miles from his residence, in Dev. stores: and probity stamped a onshire ; where he, who thus pute worth on his name, which riches lishes his name, contracted a friend. and rank cannot communicate. ship with him, which was a solace From an early period he applied and encouragement to him at the to reading, which became, not, beginning of bis ministry. Mr. withstanding the necessary sup. Hoare was a constant and regular port of himself and family required attendant on public worship: a his time to be given to the labours candid, serious and discerning of his calling, both extensive and hearer ; honourable memliberal. He was well versed in ber of the religious society to history, particularly in that of which he joined himself, and this nation and of the Christian was looked to with deference 10 church. He had formed such his judgment and taste. His re. an acquaintance with the law of ligious profession was supported England, as qualified him for and adorned by industry in his many of the common offices in calling, strict sobriety of manners, the practice of it. This knowledge, integrity in his dealings, modesty united with a fund of observation, of deportment, wholly unassumderived from experience and re. ing, and benevolence of heart. flection, rendered bim a wise and Kindness and affection were the judicious friend, whom to consult amiable traits of bis relative cha. in the different transactions of life. racter, As he sat on the board Theology had engaged his parti- with his sons, whom he trained cular attention. He had read a up to this own business, he opened number of the most valuable books their minds and poured instrucon its various subjects: and there tion into them, by his conversa. was scarcely a religious controversy tion, He was the counsellor of any importance, which he had among his neighbours : directing not studied with care, as he had them in difficulties, and making settled his judgment with serious- up differences.
It will be con. ness and honesty. He had read sidered as a proof of the excellence
212 Letters of Mr. Bartholomew Hoare.- Letter I.
years in this imperfect state, and Mr. Hoare was short in stature; then return to our primitive nothdeformed in person, of prominent ing. But revelation fully assures features, his eyes piercing and his us, that the principal end of our aspect commanding respect. munificent Creator in sending us
In a letter, written in the month into this world, was to train us of June before his death, he ex- up for immortality: and by the pressed himself as apprehensive of due exercise of our virtues, to his approaching end. For, after render us meet to be partakers of mentioning the state of his bealth, the inheritance of the saints in he added : 6 as my constitution is light, in order to which he has very tender, and I find my strength endued us with powers and capa. very sensibly to decay, I cannot cities, which have a direct ien. expect to live very long in this dency and fitness to answer this world ; and I wish this belief grand and ultimate end of our cre. may engage me, in good earnest, ation.-It must, therefore, be the to prepare for making an happy indispensable duty of all rational retreat out of it."
creatures, to employ those talents
are the distinguishing ornaments
of human nature,) in searching out To Mrs. M. D. Cherney, at the the divine will, and when disco
Hon. George Speke's, 'Esg. at vered, in closely adhering thereto,
in the practice of all those neces
sary duties, which we are thereby MADAM,
convinced are incumbent on us ; I had promised myself the plea- these duties, I apprehend, we are sure of waiting on you in person entirely to learn from the holy with this book; (for the perusal scriptures ; which to us Protesof which I return you my hearty tants is the alone test, whereby thanks :) but am told tbat my late to try any doctrine or opinion conduct, with regard to matters whatsoever; and as it either
C Letters of Mr. Bartholomew Hoare. -Letter I. 213 agrees or differs from its declara- believes and how he practises, and tions, (which as to all necessary upon what grounds he does both; truths, are plain and conspicuous) and not follow any assembly, we are consequently either to em- though of never so much seeming brace or to reject it. This is ex: authority.”—“ And yet (continues actly agreeable to the writings of his lordship) how confidently do the great Archbishop Wake. A some tell us, that we must believe paragraph or two, of which, I beg them before our own reason.”leave here to recite verbatim.- " That it is schism and heresy and They are as follows.-" In mat. I know not what besides, to doubt ters of faith (says his Grace) a man of or differ from them in any is to judge for himself, and the thing which they require us to scriptures are a clear and suffici. believe: and that much better ent rule for him to judge by: and were it to shut our eyes altogether therefore if a man be evidently and to go on blindfold under their convinced upon the best enquiry conduct, than to follow the clearest he can make, that his particular light that scripture, or reason, or belief is founded on the word of even sense itself can give us. God, and that of the church is But let them (says his grace) as. not, he is obliged to support and sume what authority they please adhere to his own belief in opposi. to themselves and raise what clamtion to that of the church; and our they can against us : when all the reason of this must be very is done, this conclusion will reevident to all those who own not main firm as heaven and clear as the church, but the scriptures to any first principles of science ; be the ultimate rule and guide of that if the scriptures be, as we all their faith. For if this be so, then agree that they are, the word of individual persons as well as God, and were written for our ina churches must judge of their faith, struction, then we must follow according to what they find in the conduct of them, and hold scripture.-And if they are con- fast to the truth which they de. vinced, that there is a disagree. liver, though not only a company ment in any point of faith, between of assuming men, calling them. the voice of the church and that selves the church, but the whole of scripture, they must stick to the world should conspire against latter, rather than the foriner, us.” Thus far this metropolitan. they must follow the superior, not
I could bring other great au. inferior guide.”—and further, thorities, madam, were it neces. “ The right of examining what is sary, in vindication of my conproposed to us in matters of reli. duct. But I think the forecited gion, is not any special privilege passages to be clear and conclu. of the pastors or governors of the sive. It is certain the human church; but is the common right soul is uncapable of force and can and duty of all Christians what. yield its assent only to evidence soever." And again,
Every and conviction. The same proparticular person (says this great position frequently appears in a prelate) is to answer to God for very different light to different. his own soul, and must examine persons : from whence it is obvi. as far as he is able, both what he ous that a unity of opinions is
214 Letters of Mr. Bartholomew Hoare. --Letter I. not attainable in nature: it must me in particular: I am confident theretore be the duty of all Chris. they will find but liule fruit in it, tians to exercise mutual forbear. besides repentance ; as it can ance towards each other, and to afford them but small consolation be ready to allow all men the same in a must serious and not far.dis. liberty which they desire and ex. tant hour to reflect on their hav. pect should be extended towards ing done all that lay within their themselves.
power to deprive a poor man of As I have great reason to sup- the means of procuring bread for pose Lady to be possessed of his tender helpless offspring I more charity, than to dislike any leave the impartial world to judge person merely for following the of the provocation I have ever dictates of his conscience; so I given to such treatment:
as I strongly suspect that some base have made it my constant study falsehood relating to my moral to be quiet and to do my own character has, by some ill-design. business, which I have still followed ing person been conveyed to her with the utmost application in ladyship, which I only want a order to provide a necessary sub. proper oppportunity to obviate. sistence for my family: -And as I would fain fatter myself that no my separation was entirely free man who calls himself a minister from all venal motives, so I can of the gospel of Christ would act truly assert, that I am attached so ungenerous a part ; since it is to no interest, but that of virtue their duty especially to be gentle and my Redeemer: neither have towards all men and both to prac. I made any attempts of propagattise themselves and to persuade ing my opinions, or of gaining others, to speak evil of no man; proselytes thereto; chusing rather and to do as much as in them lies, to leave all men to the direction that all bitterness, and wrath, and of their own consciences in a mat. anger, and clamour, and evil-speak- ter of so momentous a nature.ing with all malice be banished I shall only add further, that if from the Christian world.--How- difference of sentiments were to ever, it is too evident, that even exclude from the common intersuch are found often to forget courses of life, this must neces. themselves on some particular oc- sarily be subversive of all society ; casions; wherein, according to and render the religion of Christ, al my notions of religion they (whose peculiar glory consists in ought to shew themselves examples that extensive love and charity it of every good-natured and com. enjoins) a means of filling the passionate virtue. And this is world with those destructive vices the more to be lamented from its of envy, hatred and malice: and melancholy effects: it being cer- of reducing mankind to that de. tain, that a zeal without charity plorable state in which the gospel is far more pernicious in its con. found them,-namely, to be "hate. sequences, than a zeal without ful and hating one another."-I knowledge. I cannol forbear to shall dilate no longer on the un. pity every such furious bigot, and grateful subject; but shall re. especially those, (whoever they lieve your patience; on which I are) who have so lately injured am sensible I have already most
shamefully trespassed : but as I mist ministers of those days were am confident that I am ad- rather offended at the licentious. dressing to a person who is emia ness and profanation which was nently possessed of that charity then encouraged and patronized which beareth all things, so I con- by public authority ; (which really sider that even that will effectually was matter of great scandal) iban incline you to excuse my prolixity, at complying with the practice of and to believe me still to be with such usages and observations, as the utmost sincerity,
were allowed on all sides to be of Madam,
a mutable and indifferent nature. Yours, &c.
I imagine that in all questions July 15, 1751.
of this kind, this necessary dis.
tinction ought chiefly to be reLETTER II.
garded; namely, whether the mat. Mr. Banger, in Seaton. ter in dispute relates either to the Dear Sir,
fundamental, or circumstantial As on my remonstrating some parts of religion. If to the latter, time since on the inconsistency of then I allow—that though in the joining statedly in such public case before us, with respect to offices of religious worship, as are the worship and ceremonies (10 say fundamentally contrary to our nothing of the discipline) enjoined judgment, you were pleased to in the Established Church, it were put an author into my hands, easy to point out many unwar. which you the int ated had rantable usages; of which the conduced very much towards wisest and best of its members satisfying you in relation to your have still complained as a blemish conduct in this respect, I have to her constitution and a burden now taken an opportunity, (and to the practisers; and which you, that indeed the first my incessantly Sir, and myself have ere now been busy station would admit) to ex. considering : such as the reading amine what is there offered to the the psalter throughout--The jejune point, and must confess, am much and spiritless expressions (at least) disappointed in finding no para. with which the common oflices graph relating to that case,-For abound—The impropriety of the I apprehend that what the Puritan hymns and versicles ---The tau. divines, in the reign of James the tologious recital of the Lord's First, suffered suspension for, was Prayer-The promiscuous use of their non-compliance with the the burial-office--The cross and ceremonies and adjuncts of public sponsors in baptism--The priest's worship; a thing very different absolution-Worshipping towards from the object of worship : which the East--and many other expresis the most material, if not the sions and ceremonies which to a only exception UNITARIANS make rational mind must appear quite to the use of the established liturgy, absurd and indefensible. - Yet and is in my humble opinion) a (whatever others may have appre. matter of infinitely greater conse. hended) they are not reasons suf. quence iban what they boggled at, ficient to prevail on me to separate For I have often thought that the from a religious society with whom moșt rational of the NONCONFOR. I had hitherto field communions